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Zoledronic Acid Solution for injection

It is used to treat Paget's disease and osteoporosis in women

Generic Name: zoledronic acid  |  Brand Name: Reclast

Brand Names: Zometa, Reclast, Aclasta, Zometa Concentrate

There is an FDA Alert for this drug. Click here to view it.

Special Alerts:

[Posted 09/01/2011] ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients of an update to the drug label for zoledronic acid (Reclast) regarding the risk of kidney failure. Cases of acute renal failure requiring dialysis or having a fatal outcome following Reclast use have been reported to FDA. The revised label states that Reclast is contraindicated in patients with creatinine clearance less than 35 mL/min or in patients with evidence of acute renal impairment. The label also recommends that healthcare professionals screen patients prior to administering Reclast in order to identify at-risk patients.

The Reclast Medication Guide for patients is being updated to contain information about the risk of severe kidney problems. In addition, the manufacturer of Reclast will issue a Dear Healthcare Provider letter to inform healthcare professionals about this risk.

BACKGROUND: Risk factors for developing renal failure include underlying moderate to severe renal impairment, use of kidney-damaging (nephrotoxic) or diuretic medications at the same time as Reclast, or severe dehydration occurring before or after Reclast is given. The risk of developing renal failure in patients with underlying renal impairment also increases with age.

These labeling changes are being made to the Reclast label only, although zoledronic acid, also sold as Zometa, is approved for treatment of cancer-related indications. Renal toxicity is already addressed in the Warnings and Precautions section of the Zometa label. Dose reductions for Zometa are provided for patients with renal impairment.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Reclast is contraindicated in patients with creatinine clearance less than 35 mL/min, or in patients with evidence of acute renal impairment. Healthcare professionals should screen patients prior to administering Reclast in order to identify at-risk patients. Healthcare professionals should also monitor renal function in patients who are receiving Reclast. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

[Posted 10/13/2010] ISSUE: FDA is updating the public regarding information previously communicated describing the risk of atypical fractures of the thigh, known as subtrochanteric and diaphyseal femur fractures, in patients who take bisphosphonates for osteoporosis. This information will be added to the Warnings and Precautions section of the labels approved to treat osteoporosis, including alendronate (Fosamax), alendronate with cholecalciferol (Fosamax Plus D), risedronate (Actonel and Atelvia), risedronate with calcium carbonate (Actonel with Calcium), ibandronate (Boniva), tiludronate (Skelid), and zoledronic acid (Reclast) and their generic products. A Medication Guide will also be required to be given to patients when they pick up their bisphosphonate prescription.

BACKGROUND: Atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures are fractures in the bone just below the hip joint. Diaphyseal femur fractures occur in the long part of the thigh bone. These fractures are very uncommon and appear to account for less than 1% of all hip and femur fractures overall. Although it is not clear if bisphosphonates are the cause, these unusual femur fractures have been predominantly reported in patients taking bisphosphonates.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Patients should continue to take their medication unless told to stop by their healthcare professional. FDA recommends that healthcare professionals should discontinue potent antiresorptive medications (including bisphosphonates) in patients who have evidence of a femoral shaft fracture. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

[Posted 03/11/2010] FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that at this point, the data that FDA has reviewed have not shown a clear connection between bisphosphonate use and a risk of atypical subtrochanteric femur fractures. FDA is working with outside experts, including members of the recently convened American Society of Bone and Mineral Research Subtrochanteric Femoral Fracture Task Force, to gather more information and evaluate the issue further.

FDA recommends that healthcare professionals follow the recommendations in the drug label when prescribing oral bisphosphonates.

Patients should continue taking oral bisphosphonates unless told by their healthcare professional to stop. Patients should talk to their healthcare professional if they develop new hip or thigh pain or have any concerns with their medications. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

[Posted 11/12/2008] FDA issued an update to the Agency’s review of safety data regarding the potential increased risk of atrial fibrillation in patients treated with a bisphosphonate drug. Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs used primarily to increase bone mass and reduce the risk for fracture in patients with osteoporosis, slow bone turnover in patients with Paget’s disease of the bone, and to treat bone metastases and lower elevated levels of blood calcium in patients with cancer. FDA reviewed data on 19,687 bisphosphonate-treated patients and 18,358 placebo-treated patients who were followed for 6 months to 3 years. The occurrence of atrial fibrillation was rare within each study, with most studies containing 2 or fewer events. Across all studies, no clear association between overall bisphosphonate exposure and the rate of serious or non-serious atrial fibrillation was observed. Additionally, increasing dose or duration of bisphosphonate therapy was not associated with an increase rate of atrial fibrillation. Healthcare professionals should not alter their prescribing patterns for bisphosphonates and patients should not stop taking their bisphosphonate medication. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web], and [Web].

[Posted 01/07/2008] FDA informed healthcare professionals and patients of the possibility of severe and sometimes incapacitating bone, joint, and/or muscle (musculoskeletal) pain in patients taking bisphosphonates. Although severe musculoskeletal pain is included in the prescribing information for all bisphosphonates, the association between bisphosphonates and severe musculoskeletal pain may be overlooked by healthcare professionals, delaying diagnosis, prolonging pain and/or impairment, and necessitating the use of analgesics. The severe musculoskeletal pain may occur within days, months, or years after starting a bisphosphonates. Some patients have reported complete relief of symptoms after discontinuing the bisphosphonate, whereas others have reported slow or incomplete resolution. The risk factors for and incidence of severe musculoskeletal pain associated with bisphosphonates are unknown.

Healthcare professionals should consider whether bisphosphonate use might be responsible for severe musculoskeletal pain in patients who present with these symptoms and consider temporary or permanent discontinuation of the drug. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

[Posted 10/01/2007] FDA issued an early communication about the ongoing review of new safety data regarding the association of atrial fibrillation with the use of bisphosphonates. Bisphosphonates are a class of drugs used primarily to increase bone mass and reduce the risk for fracture in patients with osteoporosis, slow bone turnover in patients with Paget’s disease of the bone, treat bone metastases, and lower elevated levels of blood calcium in patients with cancer.

FDA reviewed spontaneous postmarketing reports of atrial fibrillation reported in association with oral and intravenous bisphosphonates and did not identify a population of bisphosphonate users at increased risk of atrial fibrillation. In addition, as part of the data review for the recent approval of once-yearly Reclast for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis, FDA evaluated the possible association between atrial fibrillation and the use of Reclast (zoledronic acid). Most cases of atrial fibrillation occurred more than a month after drug infusion. Also, in a subset of patients monitored by electrocardiogram up to the 11th day following infusion, there was no significant difference in the prevalence of atrial fibrillation between patients who received Reclast and patients who received placebo.

Upon initial review, it is unclear how these data on serious atrial fibrillation should be interpreted. Therefore, FDA does not believe that healthcare providers or patients should change either their prescribing practices or their use of bisphosphonates at this time. For more information visit the FDA website at: [Web] and [Web].

REMS:

FDA approved a REMS for zoledronic acid to ensure that the benefits of a drug outweigh the risks. However, FDA later rescinded REMS requirements. See the FDA REMS page ([Web]) or the ASHP REMS Resource Center ([Web]).

What is this medicine?

ZOLEDRONIC ACID (ZOE le dron ik AS id) lowers the amount of calcium loss from bone. It is used to treat Paget's disease and osteoporosis in women.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • aspirin-sensitive asthma
  • dental disease
  • kidney disease
  • low levels of calcium in the blood
  • past surgery on the parathyroid gland or intestines
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to zoledronic acid, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

This medicine is for infusion into a vein. It is given by a health care professional in a hospital or clinic setting.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. This medicine is not approved for use in children.

What if I miss a dose?

It is important not to miss your dose. Call your doctor or health care professional if you are unable to keep an appointment.

What may interact with this medicine?

  • certain antibiotics given by injection
  • NSAIDs, medicines for pain and inflammation, like ibuprofen or naproxen
  • some diuretics like bumetanide, furosemide
  • teriparatide

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checkups. It may be some time before you see the benefit from this medicine. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may order blood tests or other tests to see how you are doing.

Women should inform their doctor if they wish to become pregnant or think they might be pregnant. There is a potential for serious side effects to an unborn child. Talk to your health care professional or pharmacist for more information.

You should make sure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D while you are taking this medicine. Discuss the foods you eat and the vitamins you take with your health care professional.

Some people who take this medicine have severe bone, joint, and/or muscle pain. This medicine may also increase your risk for a broken thigh bone. Tell your doctor right away if you have pain in your upper leg or groin. Tell your doctor if you have any pain that does not go away or that gets worse.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • changes in vision
  • feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • jaw burning, cramping, or pain
  • muscle cramps, stiffness, or weakness
  • trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • bone, joint, or muscle pain
  • fever
  • irritation at site where injected
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • stomach upset
  • tired

Where should I keep my medicine?

This drug is given in a hospital or clinic and will not be stored at home.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.


Last Updated: June 15, 2012
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